Trouble with implementing changes to the GI Bill have left lawmakers skeptical when it comes to new systems at the VA, but appeals modernization efforts are playing out far more smoothly, according to stakeholders.
The VBA missed a deadline to implement a new benefit system in August, and now that it looks like the agency won’t be ready for the spring semester either, lawmakers wanted to know why.
From fitness centers to cyber issues, these amendments within the House NDAA are likely to grab some attention.
The Veterans Affairs Department has about a year to get its appeals process off the ground. Congress and GAO are concerned VA doesn’t have the tools ready to meet that deadline.
Lawmakers found the numbers presented by the departments involved don’t provide an accurate picture of the program’s success.
The Veterans Affairs Department may get a big budget boost in fiscal 2018 under the president’s proposal. Most of the additional funding will go toward health care, both in and outside the department. But the budget proposal does suggest cuts, and lawmakers said they’re concerned by possible spending reductions to VA information technology and medical research.
A new bill that would limit how much time doctors, nurses and other employees at the Veterans Affairs Department could spend on union business has support now from VA itself. The department said having its employees spend 100 percent of their hours on official time is “necessary, reasonable and in the public’s best interest.”
The Office of Personnel Management was almost spared from making any tough calls this winter over whether to close federal offices in the Washington, D.C. area or delay commutes for the federal workforce.
A recent Government Accountability Office report on the Veterans Affairs Department and its employees’ use of official time is renewing a debate among lawmakers: Does official time have a place within agency operations, and how much time is too much?